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I write sex books

My older daughter, Athena (not her real name) in her first week in an American school made a new friend. The friend’s mom was volunteering for playground duty, and upon meeting Athena asked her what myself and my husband did for work. My husband’s job is innocuous–he’s a programmer.

“My mom writes sex books,” Athena tells her.

Fast forward to last week. I meet the mom for coffee–it’s my first time hanging out with her and I’m hoping to make a good impression. The story comes out after I said I write romance novels.

I am mortified.

That afternoon I shared what I’d learned with my daughter, and asked why she’d said that. I wasn’t angry with her, I just wanted to know why.

“That man is naked on your cover. He’s not wearing a shirt.”

She means RJ.

I asked her what she thought sex was.

“I don’t know.”

Cue my buying Sex is a Funny Word from Amazon, and asking her to say I write books, or I write romance books instead of sex books.

My friends have found this whole story hilarious. I am moving from mortification to amusement as well.

Oh. My. God.

**Updated with a link to Wicked Wednesday #200–The Best. I think this is the best post I’ve written on Delilah Night.***

If you can, I’d advise you to watch the video because I actually tell the story, but if you don’t, there’s a written version below.  They’re a bit different in a word or phrase here and there, so pick your medium.  Be aware that there are some NSFW moments (I’m talking about erotic fanfic), so headphones or no kids around are advised.

 

**I first told this at a Singapore Story Slam in September 2014***

In early 2001 I was a college senior.  I hadn’t written anything besides essays and research papers in years and I was feeling burnt out.  Around this time, an ex boyfriend introduced me to the world of online fan fiction, online erotica, and online erotic fan fiction.  I read through some, and my takeaway was “Pshaw, I can do that.”

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In Fall 1987 a tv show called Star Trek: The Next Generation began to air.  Wil Wheaton played Wesley Crusher.  Wesley Crusher was an obnoxious, know it all teenager –not even a member of the crew–who often saved the ship with his high school science projects.  He was not terribly beloved the adult fanbase.  I was 9, and I thought Wesley Crusher was the coolest, smartest person ever…because I’m a nerdy, bookish kind of girl, and he made it seem like nerdy bookish kids could rise up and be the hero.  By the time he stopped being a series regular4 years later I was 13 and my hormones had kicked in.  Some girls had Kirk Cameron, or Keanu Reeves, or New Kids on the Block, or Christian Slater as their imaginary boyfriend.  Me?  Wesley Crusher.  I had the Wesley Crusher ST TNG official trading card hanging in my locker.  But he left the show, and I stopped following his career because I was all about Wesley, not Wil.

Back to 2001.  The deadline on my undergraduate thesis was fast approaching, so naturally I decided that there was no time like the present to write some Wesley Crusher fanfic.  So I do.  It was worse than you’re imagining.  Yes, I wrote myself into the story.  Yes, I described certain attributes in great detail.  Clichés.  Clichés as far as the eye can see.  With 13 years of perspective, I can tell you that it was a truly truly terrible story.  But as a rank beginner, I had no idea how bad this story was.

I was really proud of it.  So I posted it online.

 

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I keep writing and posting erotica, as I really like it and  it’s a really good distraction from the big questions like “What the hell am I going to do with a degree in history?”

One day, about a year later, I log onto the website and there’s a message waiting for me.

“Did you know you’re linked on FARK.com?”

FARK.com?  What’s a FARK.com?    So I go to Fark.com.  It’s  a website-that lists dozens of links every day, each with a tag and a one line description.  You click on the link and there’s the content and a comment thread.  Remember how I said I hadn’t followed Wil Wheaton’s career post TNG?  Yeah, if I had, I might have known that he was really active in the online geek community.  Including posting and commenting on FARK, where he was so well regarded that he merited his own tag of “Wheaton.”

Wheaton: Idiot fangirl writes terrible Wesley Crusher fanfic (I don’t recall the exact one line description but close enough)

I click the tag and there’s a page with my story, and below it are HUNDREDS of comments.

The first rule of surviving the internet is NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.

So I’m reading the comments. While there are a few kind words here and there, the overwhelming majority are not.  But they’re mean in a 2001 internet way, and not in a 2014 internet mean way.

 

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So I’m scrolling, and I’m reading, and I’m cringing.

Then I see it. 

There is a comment from the verified Wil Wheaton account

Oh.

My.

God.

 

In that moment, I want nothing more than the earth to swallow me whole.   “No.  Nonononono.  Oh shit.  nooooo.”

I debate creating an account to try and defend myself.  To explain that it’s NOT ABOUT WIL, IT’S ABOUT WESLEY.  But I don’t.  Because while I was dumb enough to post the story online (which, meh, tons of people do), and dumb enough to follow the link on Fark.com, and dumb enough to read the comments, I’m not THAT dumb.

After a few days, the link is pushed off the homepage by newer links.  Then I requested that they remove it, and they did.  I survive the experience in relative anonymity.  Thank god for screennames.

In a twisted way, the fact that I could ever want to write another word of erotic fiction, even erotic fanfiction after Wil Wheaton found out about my story meant that I must really love writing erotica.  Which I do.  So I keep writing, and I get better, and eventually I become a professional erotica author.

As a writer, I can tell you that submitting a story to an editor is a nerve-wracking experience.  You never know what they’re going to say.

But there’s one thing I know they won’t say…

Oh.

My.

God.

 

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**A few postscript notes***

  • I can’t emphasize enough how BAD this story was
  • Fark took down the story when I finally thought to ask them to do so
  • I feel bad for any embarrassment it may have caused Wil
  •  “Oh. My. God.” is not nearly as bad as what he could have justifiably commented.
  • I’m over Wesley (because I’m 36 and ick) and no, I’m not writing fanfic anymore.  I try to keep my fangirling to characters like Josh Lyman from West Wing, or Sandy from Alison’s book’s Those Boys and Those Girls, or other fictional characters.
  • I did my best to scrub THAT STORY (and everything written prior to my published days) from the internet.  Please don’t try to go digging it up.   No one needs to see that.  There’s plenty of bad erotic fanfic (including Wesley Crusher stuff) for you to read now without finding my skeletons in the closet
  • I have a lot of respect for Wil and am glad for all the work he’s done on discussing things like net neutrality,  cyber bullying, and that it’s ok to be a geek and to own it.

wicked wednesday